VCU seeks redemption in A-10 title game

Mar 15, 2015 - 2:21 PM Brooklyn. NY ( - Hoping to change the result of last year's Atlantic 10 Tournament title game, the fifth-seeded Virginia Commonwealth Rams will take on the second-seeded Dayton Flyers in the league championship bout Sunday at the Barclays Center.

The winner is crowned league champion and earns the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

VCU advanced after a hard-fought 93-73 victory over top-seeded Davidson on Saturday. Thanks to that win, the Rams head into the championship game on a four-game win streak.

Dayton took down Rhode Island for the second time in less than two weeks on Saturday when the Flyers moved past the Rams, 56-52, in the semifinal round to get to the title bout. It's the Flyers' first return to the championship match since the 2011 campaign.

The two programs met only once in the regular season, and it just so happens that clash came in the finale leading into the tourney. The Flyers were able to put the Rams away in that defensive struggle of a contest, 59-55.

VCU absolutely crushed Davidson on Saturday, especially in a first-half rout that saw the Rams connect on 47.1 percent of their shots while they also held the league's top-scoring offense to a mere 37.9 percent shooting from the field. The Rams took a commanding 44-28 lead into the intermission and never looked back. Mo Alie-Cox and Treveon Graham each netted 18 points to lead VCU, while Graham chipped in with nine rebounds and Alie-Cox added eight of his own. Jequan Lewis added 13 points and Terry Larrier contributed 11 in the lopsided victory.

VCU heads into the conference championship game ranked second in the league in scoring per outing, dropping 72.5 ppg on 42 percent shooting from the floor. Graham has been one of the more solid players this season in the A-10, as he leads his Rams in scoring headed into the championship contest with 16.2 ppg and a team-best 6.8 rpg. Melvin Johnson chips in 12.4 ppg and Lewis adds in 87 assists to fill in for the injured Briante Weber, who has been out since early February after undergoing knee surgery.

Rhode Island did everything it could to limit Dayton in Saturday's semifinal, including key in on Flyers star scorer Jordan Sibert. Still, the A-10's second-best scorer put up 12 points to lead his Flyers past the Rams, and hit a key layup with just under three minutes to play to break a 47-47 tie. Along with 12 points, Sibert also dished out five assists and notched five steals to lead the team. Dyshawn Pierre chipped in with 10 points and nine rebounds to help his Flyers ease past the Rams.

Sibert heads into the championship contest averaging 16.6 ppg on a hefty 46.1 percent shooting. He's aided in the scoring department by Kendall Pollard (12.8 ppg) and Pierre (12.6 ppg), while the latter brings down a team-high 8.1 rpg. Dayton has done a stellar job defensively this season in limiting opponents to a mere 60.6 ppg. Sibert netted 19 points and Pollard chipped in with 16 points and six rebounds to aid the Flyers in the win over the Rams a few weeks back.

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